Puzzle Finance Blog

Owning your own little piece of paradise

Mark Anderson was always peering in real estate agency windows whenever he was on holiday. Noting the prices, checking out the features. He was like any typical holidaymaker who dreamed of owning their very own weekend escape. ''I wanted somewhere I could treat as my own, as opposed to a caravan park or someone else's holiday house,'' he says.

''I liked the idea of personalising a place and knowing your things will be there instead of having to pack everything in the car.'' Anderson and his wife Louisa had been thinking of buying a holiday house for 10 years. In 2012, their fantasies turned into reality when they purchased a property in Venus Bay, on Victoria's south-east coast.

''We had always wanted a house by the ocean,'' he says.

''And I love fishing, so a place like Venus Bay offers surf, river and inlet options. It's also commutable in that it is a two-hour drive from Melbourne and we can make a day trip if necessary, or leave early on a Monday morning to start the working week.'' The three-bedroom, fully-furnished house cost the Andersons $260,000. They estimate it would be worth $270,000 now. 

But making a return was never the aim, says Anderson.

''If you are only measuring an investment by cold, hard cash it probably isn't a good investment,'' he says. ''I like to throw in some of the intangibles of lifestyle and family benefits and we bought our holiday house with that in mind. Financial advisers were keener on me buying their investment products and inner-city apartments, but there is more to life than dollars and cents.''

The couple and their three adult children stay at Venus Bay as often as they can and also rent it out for $950 a week or $250 a weekend. But the occupancy rate is just 13 per cent. It is often leased during school and public holidays, when the Andersons would like to be there.

This is the downfall of the ''hybrid holiday house'' theory, says buyer's agent Chris Gray.

Worst of both worlds

''In the peak periods is when you want to use a holiday house, but that's when it's going to get the best rent,'' he says.

''So if you've got a place in a ski resort, you want to use it in the middle of winter.

''Or if you've got a place on the coast, you want to use it over Christmas, New Year and the summer season and that's when everyone else wants to use it, when you would be making a fortune.

''So unless you want to do the opposite and go to a ski resort in the middle of summer and to the beach in winter, it's not generally going to work out as well.'' The common mistake most holiday house buyers make is relying on their property as an investment. Gray says weekenders are luxuries, not nest eggs.

''People choose holiday homes purely on emotion,'' he says. ''They're not buying in the highest capital growth area, not looking at tenancy, not looking at what industry is supporting the local area.

''They're buying based on where they want to hang out on the weekend and it's the worst possible way to invest.''

During the global financial crisis holiday homes were often the first assets to be sold off, says Gray. However, today there is more economic stability and with Australia's property market performing strongly, Gray says it's an opportune time to investigate holiday homes.

''Now's not a bad time to get in,'' he says, ''Everyone's has got over the GFC and they probably have more equity than they had a year or two ago.''

Angela and Rob Swincer own two holiday apartments in picturesque Port Lincoln, South Australia. The couple bought the properties purely as holiday accommodation and have never spent any of their own holidays there.

When they bought one of the properties in 2009, the occupancy rate was 45 per cent.

Today it's at 80 per cent, which Angela attributes to the property having its own website, Facebook page and increased advertising online and at the local visitor information centre.

''I might put in two to three hours a week on social media and answering queries, and it's made a huge difference,'' she says.

Both of the properties have absolute water frontage, so the rental prices are between $220 and $250 a night.

It may seem high, but after paying for a cleaner and ongoing maintenance costs, Swincer says she won't be retiring any time soon.

''Eventually it will be a good investment,'' she says.

''When it's busy it's good to have some extra cash coming in, but a lot of that is spent back on the property.'' ´╗┐Holiday home dos and don'ts

Summer is the season for holiday house purchases. But before you take the plunge, Jessica Darnbrough from Mortgage Choice says there are some important rules of thumb:
  • Contain your search to properties within a two-hour drive from the CBD. These houses are much more likely to have higher occupancy rates than those further afield.
  • Ensure you can survive the lean periods. Don't base your loan repayments on regular rental returns because there are sure to be quiet months.
  • Look for a property that's in good shape. You don't want to be spending a small fortune on repairs. Holiday houses are for holidays, not work.
  • Aim for a deposit of at least 20 per cent. It's not essential to own another property before buying a holiday house, but it is crucial to have a meaty deposit.
  • Speak to local agents and research online booking sites to get an idea of what rental returns and occupancy rates to expect. Does your holiday house destination have a proven rental market?
  • Choose a house with an ample kitchen. Tourists are likely to want to save money by cooking for themselves on holiday.

Posted by Kate Jones - Money Manager (Fairfax Media) on 22nd January, 2014 | Comments | Trackbacks

Bookmark and Share

The trackback URL for this page is http://www.puzzlefinance.com.au/trackback?post=28227103


There are no trackbacks for this post


There are no comments for this post

Post a Comment

HTML is not allowed in comments, http://... will be automatically linked.

Name (required):

Email Address (not displayed):

Comment (required):

To help prevent spam, please enter the word gale here:

Puzzle Finance Blog

About Puzzle Finance


September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010


Purchase or Rent (1)
The Age (1)